Chavez Accuses U.S. Government of Interfering with Trip to UN Meeting

President Chavez said that the U.S. embassy in Venezuela has denied his security and medical team visas for his upcoming trip to New York City for the opening of the 60th UN General Assembly meeting.

Caracas, Venezuela, September 13, 2005—President Chavez said that the U.S. government is interfering with his trip to participate in the opening of the 60th UN General Assembly in New York City, which begins today. He said that the U.S. embassy in Venezuela has denied visas to many members of his support team.

“Look at what has happened. They have denied visas to my security team. I receive death threats from there and they deny visas to my closest security team that has been with me all these years,” said Chavez yesterday evening, during an event with representatives of the Chinese government. Among those that Chavez said that did not receive a visa is the head of security of the president and his medical team.

Chavez also expressed frustration that the parking area for his plane was changed in the last minute. “I would have to walk on my own through the Big Apple,” said Chavez.

Chavez had planned to attend the opening of the 60th United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City. The denial of visas, though, is causing him to reconsider the trip because the government in Washington is “violating international agreements and principles,” said Chavez. “I am not visiting the United States, but the United Nations, which decided to operate out of New York, which is something else, but it is international territory,” he added.

Last year, Chavez canceled his participation in the 59th opening of the General Assembly in the last minute because of security concerns involving his airplane.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Venezuela said that the embassy has not rejected any visa applications of Chavez’s delegation traveling to New York. The representative would not say, though, what was causing the delay with the visas.